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Event provides detail on unlocking private finance for peatland restoration in Shetland

Published: 23 August 2023

Local landowners and land managers are being encouraged to attend an event next week to help them understand the opportunities available for financing peatland restoration. Hosted by Peatland ACTION and Shetland Amenity Trust, it will focus on the potential for private financial investment through the sale of carbon units from peatland restoration projects. 

Stephen Corcoran, a Peatland Code Auditor with Soil Association will join Sue White, a local Peatland ACTION Project Officer to share the benefits of peatland restoration. They will explain the funding and support available through Peatland ACTION and how the Peatland Code provides a mechanism to support private finance for peatland restoration and long-term management of damaged peatland.

Peatlands are the largest natural store of carbon on land, but when peat is exposed or its hydrology modified, it emits carbon in the form of greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change. At present, degraded peatlands are responsible for 15% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Peatland restoration helps to create conditions which turn a peatland that is emitting carbon to one which acts as a carbon sink. This is a crucial aspect of Scotland’s efforts to address the climate emergency.

Peatland ACTION has so far funded the capital costs of several hundred hectares of peatland restoration across Shetland as well as feasibility studies and peat depth and condition surveys with up to 100% funding available for new projects. The Peatland Code provides a mechanism to verify how much carbon will be prevented from escaping into the atmosphere by restoration work. This amount can be converted into carbon credits, which, can then be held by the landowner, or sold to private investors.

Sue White, who works with Shetland Amenity Trust and is a Peatland ACTION Project Officer said: “The Peatland Code is another option open to those interested in peatland restoration. This session will give landowners and managers a good understanding of the processes around Peatland Code with an opportunity to discuss carbon finance opportunities related to peatland restoration projects.”

By using the IUCN Peatland Code landowners and land managers can receive private financial investment through the sale of carbon units. This carbon finance can be used flexibly to help with capital costs or long-term management costs.

The Code is a voluntary standard for UK peatland projects wishing to market the climate benefit of restoration. It provides assurance and clarity for business and other investors in peatland restoration projects through independent validation and verification.

Those interested in joining the event on Friday 01 September 2023, will have the opportunity to learn more on the Peatland Code during a session from 10.00am - 12.30am at the Shetland Museum Learning Room followed by a site visit to a local peatland restoration area. From 2.00pm - 4.30pm attendees will visit the Girlsta peatland restoration site, meeting opposite the Old Girlsta Chapel on the Girlsta to Stromfirth Road before ending the day with a question and answer session from 7.30pm - 9.00pm at the Shetland Livestock Marketing Group, Shetland Rural Centre downstairs meeting room.

Those who wish to discuss potential peatland restoration and Peatland Code projects further or who cannot attend the Peatland Code dedicated event are encouraged to visit the Shetland Amenity Trust and Peatland ACTION stand at the Yell Show on Saturday 02 September.

Individuals wishing to know more about the event should contact Sue White on Sue.White@shetlandamenity.org on 07917646303 for more information. Further details on the funding, support and advice available for peatland restoration across Scotland can be found at www.nature.scot/peatlandaction.

General information on green finance for land managers can be found on the NatureScot website.